Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This dissertation examines the cultural phenomenon of mourning in relation to British Romantic Literature. In chapters on the work of William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Felicia Hemans, and Charles Lamb, it argues that the Romantic period, as a time of increased mobility due to three revolutions, wars, and the expansion of empire, was a moment when unresolved grief became a common experience. Using the psychologist Pauline Boss’s concept of “ambiguous loss” as a lens for a new reading of British Romantic writing, and distinguishing this concept from the modern concept of “nostalgia,” this dissertation analyzes poetry, novels, and essays written by both male and female authors in order to show the pervasiveness of ambiguous loss in this period’s literature. In the process, this dissertation provides a new way of understanding the distinctively modern, elegiac mood in much British Romantic writing.

Date

10-25-2022

Committee Chair

Rovee, Christopher K.

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